Heads must roll
But coach McGahan is safe - for now
Published 18/01/2011 | 05:00
UNDER-FIRE Tony McGahan has been backed as the man to lead Munster's return to their glory days, but there have been calls for a reshuffle in his back-room team following Sunday's Heineken Cup pool exit.
Munster's 32-16 defeat in Toulon saw the province fail to make the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup for the first time in 13 seasons and McGahan, whose contract runs until the end of season 2011/12, has come in for heavy criticism.
However, former Munster players Moss Finn, a member of the team who beat the All Blacks in 1978, and Brian Walsh, who played on the Munster side that defeated the world champions Australians in 1992, both agree that McGahan is the right man to get the province back on track.
"Tony McGahan is a fantastic coach," said Finn, "and I do believe he is the right man to lead Munster. It was a difficult job taking over a squad that had won two Heineken Cups under Declan Kidney and he was always going to be judged on that, while his tenure has coincided with a group of players who had too many miles on the clock.
"But I think Munster need to get back to their roots with some of the other coaching positions and look at indigenous options like Anthony Foley for the forwards and Michael Bradley for the backs, ex-Munster players who know what it's about and can fire them (the players) up."
Walsh, who has coached the Ireland club side and led Cork Constitution to the All-Ireland League and Cup double last season, agreed that McGahan is still the right man for the job.
"I don't think there needs to be a change of head coach -- the players like and respect McGahan, and even though Sunday was hugely disappointing, getting rid of the coaching ticket is not necessarily the answer," said Walsh.
"But Munster do need to refocus and examine the way they approach the game because it has changed hugely. They need to take a long look at their structures and prepare for the way the game is going.
"It will take time and patience. Munster need to draw breath and come up with a clear direction and a vision for the future."